Sandy Springs broke ground for its Fire Station No. 2 on April 7, the first new building for the Fire Department since the city formed in 2006.

The fire station will be in the same location a previous version occupied at 135 Johnson Ferry Road, at its intersection with Sandy Springs Circle. The City Council approved a $6.45 million contract with Reeves Young of Sugar Hill to construct the new building.

Mayor Rusty Paul and Fire Chief Keith Sanders lead City Council members in the groundbreaking for the new fire station. (Bob Pepalis)

The original building, which was demolished in August 2020, opened in 1969 and had served the city of Atlanta and Fulton County before Sandy Springs formed.

The new fire station will have the latest technology and equipment for firefighters, especially to handle cleanup and decontamination of firefighters and their gear to reduce the impact of carcinogens at fire scenes, Fire Chief Keith Sanders said. A shower area in the “hot zone” and a sauna will help remove the smoke and other hazards that collect on their skin when they go into a burning building.

A confined-space simulator and a rock-climbing wall will help firefighters stay sharp on using such equipment as rappelling gear needed to rescue window-washers trapped outside tall buildings, such as the King and Queen buildings at the Concourse center, Sanders said.

He said Fire Station No. 2 has been the busiest in the city. Relocating crews to a temporary station on Mount Vernon Highway near the Roswell Road intersection hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been difficult for those guys because we only have one truck responding out of there,” he said.

Other new stations to come

Meanwhile, design work has begun for Fire Station No. 5, which will be located on a 1-acre parcel at Mount Vernon and Spalding Drive in the city’s panhandle. The design and plans will be brought to the Planning Commission and City Council, with two public hearings for public comment.

“Our fire truck is sitting in the city of Roswell Fire Station 7 on Holcomb Bridge Road. It is nine-tenths of a mile outside the city,” Sanders said.

Councilmembers received ceremonial fire axes in commemoration of the fire station’s groundbreaking. (Bob Pepalis)

The Fire Department doesn’t have a big fire problem in the panhandle area that Fire Station No. 5 serves, but it does have a lot of serious medical calls in the area.

“And when we do have a fire out there it’s a large fire and minutes and seconds make all the difference in the world, whether it be a structure fire or whether it be a cardiac arrest,” he said.

The city hopes to occupy the new Fire Station No. 5 by October 2023.

Fire Chief Keith Sanders, left, speaks at the groundbreaking with City Councilmember John Paulson, whose district will get the next new fire station, No. 5, in October 2023. (Bob Pepalis)

The city has created a 10% improvement in its response times by implementing preemption software that changes lights to green for emergency vehicles when they get within 2,000 feet of a traffic signal, Sanders said.

Fire Station No. 1, now located at Spalding Drive and Roberts Drive, eventually will move to the city’s new public safety headquarters at 620 Morgan Falls Road. The city purchased that site, which also will house the police department and municipal courts, in October 2020 for $10.9 million. 

“Our highest-fire area is the North End in our older apartment complexes. That will help us improve response time with that relocation of that station as well,” Sanders said.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.